When kids bring up same-sex marriage

Lee Rose Emery writes for CNN about how it's in the car that her children enter the deep conversations:

"The most important thing about marriage," I told my kids when the subject came up, "is that you pick someone who is kind, and who really loves you."
My son (then 6) replied, "Then I would definitely NOT marry John (his friend who punches.) My older daughter (then 8) said, "Boys can't marry boys," to which my son responded, "But Noah has two dads!"

Emery found herself unsure as to how to proceed, assuming this was about "the birds and the bees." She sought advice from a number of sources on the subject, including Noah's two dads.

There were a lot of interesting and mostly helpful responses from the group of people. Multiple people in the article remark on how adults often jump to the question of sex, when more often than not it is really about family and difference.

Emery also talked with "parenting expert" Betsy Brown Braun, who articulated not only what's at stake, but why parents get uncomfortable:

"There is nothing loaded about this for kids...it is loaded for parents, as it challenges our ability to discuss our own feelings...we are all victims of the attitudes and worlds in which we were raised."

Braun says how parents approach the topic of difference and how they communicate that to their children will either teach them to accept difference or not.

Comments (8)

I'll never forget when my son, then four, spent the day with his friend from church who has two moms. On the way home he chattered about what a great time he had had. Then he asked, "Mama, who is Ruth?" I replied she was his friend's mom. "Well, then who is Mary?" I explained that she was the mom, too, that there were all kinds of families. He was quiet for a moment, then said, "I guess it would be pretty boring for God to make every family alike." Amen.

Beautiful Tricia! Thanks for sharing!

My two grade school age goddaughters were sitting next to me at the wedding of two male friends of ours, one of them their church school teacher . I was interested that they seemed to have no questions whatsoever about this particular matching but accepted it as something utterly normal. The families of these two long time partners weren't concerned either except, we learned, when before the wedding the teen-aged niece of one had seen the program: "The ring-bearer is a girl!! Ring bearers have to be boys!" The wedding went ahead anyway.

So I guess we still have some gender issues to work on after all!

That's really funny Judy.

Too bad most churches see marriage as God-sanctioned sex. Say a few words, have the right plumbing, you get to have sex now, yay! Bake a big cake, buy an otherwise inappropriate dress! Take an expensive trip! Yay! OH NOES, they're having sex and didn't get us all involved, BOO!!!

Ridiculous. Divorce marriage from sex NOW. It is the God's honest truth that a sexual encounter is no longer the most intimate, two-becoming-one event that it was in ages past. First take lots of time to discern what, in this day and age, makes two into one, then craft marriage as an institution in response to that.

Great bit of language in your first sentence, Clint! I'm going to "borrow" that!

I also loved the stories shared.

My parents went on vacation, leaving five of us (5,7&9) at our home with their friends Rod & Jack. After Mom returned, I asked her why, when they are so nice, they aren't married, why don't they have wives?
Her response "Because they love and are committed to each other. Sometimes a man and a woman, like Dad and I, love each other enough to spend our life together, sometimes two men or two women love each other enough to spend their life together." Full explanation at our ages - no further questions.
Not an unusual response - hopefully - today, but if my mother were still alive she would be 105. It was many years before I began to realize the blessing she gave us that day.

What a great mom, Kit. You must miss her a lot. [What year was this, approx?]

JC Fisher

Add your comments

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Reminder: At Episcopal Café, we hope to establish an ethic of transparency by requiring all contributors and commentators to make submissions under their real names. For more details see our Feedback Policy.

Advertising Space